Chris Sale is a monster. Before the season, Jay(Wrong) gathered and tallied the 2014 Official Razzball Picks. And I have to state, at this point, my choices are making me look stupid so far: ROY = Nick Castellanos; Sleeper = Justin Ruggiano; Come Back = Mitch Moreland (although he does still have an elite fly ball and home run average distance); Bust = Jose Bautista, not; MVPitcher = Danny Salazar (ugh).

One pick makes me still feel omniscient: Infatuation = Chris Sale.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Four teams were showing interest in Stephen Drew. No official word on which four teams, but I’m guessing the Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox and whoever didn’t want the Yankees, Tigers or Red Sox to get him. Probably the Giants. That Sabean is a real party pooper! “Stephen Drew is under 40 years old, but he comes across as a guy that is aging twice the speed of the average human.” That’s Sabean weighing Drew’s pros and cons. Well, tough noogs, Sabean, the Red Sox secured their long-coveted, barely above replacement level shortstop. In a news conference, the Red Sox said they hadn’t had a news conference in a while and felt like now was as good a time as any. “We were gonna hold a presser to say Jerry Remy was down to a pack and a half of smokes a day, but this is so much better!” Drew hasn’t been worth owning in fantasy in about six years, so I wouldn’t expect you picking him up will work as a Viagra substitute. He’s around that of a 12-homer, 5-steal, .250 hitter. Lowercase yay. This will move Xander Bogaerts to third base and Will Middlebrooks to an outside chance of being a deep league sleeper in 2015, if he gets a few good at-bats off the bench when he returns because he’s now out of a job. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In between winning the Nobel Prize, shots of rum, bagging 240-pound marlins and banging 140-pound broads, Ernest Hemingway wrote: The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.”  Did Papa play fantasy baseball? My pitching staff was very good, very brave, and now they’re very dead. Light a candle and cue the bagpipes (those things get me misty every time) in memory of Patrick Corbin, Matt Moore, Kris Medlen and the latest soldier to fall, Jose FernandezThe literary references aside, the most talked about pitcher in baseball this season is not Clayton Kershaw, it’s not Max Scherzer, and it’s not even Bartolo Colon after an at-bat. The most talked about arm in the game is Tommy John. If ol’ TJ had a buck for every pitcher that has been lost this season to the surgery that bears his name, he’d have $19 – which is $4 more than he made in his Major League career. Thus far, 19 pitchers have blown out their prized possession, with Fernandez the latest to fall and rumors swirling about Andrew Cashner, who was just put on the DL shelf. All of last season, 19 players were lost to Tommy John. To talk some real baseball for a minute, even commissioner Bud Selig weighed in on the epidemic saying, “I’m almost afraid to pick up the paper because of the bad news.” Unfortunately, the bad news Bud was referring to, in the paper, was that it looks like Beetle Bailey will never get out of the Army. Bud then answered a call on his shoe as his toupee fell into his soup. The fact is, no matter how well you drafted, your staff must be feeling the pain, and no amount of penicillin will cure what ails you.  It’s time to fire up the jammer-crammer machine©, dive into the deep-end of the waiver waters, and find us some arms that aren’t stitched together like Young Frankenstein. Walk this way, it’s time to jam it or cram it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Let me preface this post with the following: the next one will be much deeper. [Ed. Note -- That's what she said!] I’m talking 0% ownership. I’m talking Morgan Freeman’s deep voice in the movie Deep Impact. I’m talking real throaty [Ed. Note-- Darn, shoulda saved it for that one...], but for now… Here are starters approaching 50% ownership (as of 4/28) that I’d jump on if they’re still available:

Danny Salazar
– with a dominating start this past weekend, he’s back above the 50% owned mark, so I won’t expand too much here. The swinging strike rate is down to a sustainable level and the youth/homerun propensity reminds us (me) why we (I) shouldn’t get too excited. Prior to the season I pointed to Salazar’s dominating repertoire here and here. As long as he stays healthy, I think he’ll continue to be Matt Harvey Jr. According to Baseball Prospectus’ Pitchf/x Leaderboard, he’s still got a top-15 Fastball velocity, but a -2 MPH difference and 12% less swinging strikes on the fastball relative to last year will now keep me rational. He’s got the unlucky smokescreen going i.e. an elevated HR/FB ratio, LOB% and hideous BABIP. Again, as long as he stays healthy, there is still a ton to like here with the high velocity + devastating repertoire. Pluck him off waivers or buy low sooner than later.

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As the seminal prog band Emerson, Lake and Laura Palmer once sang: “Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, we’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside.” (The song went on for 45 minutes before ‘Yes’ came out and kicked their ass.) Opening day is here and the Razzball Lounge is open for bid’ness. Have a seat, grab a cold one and a pickled egg, and don’t get hypnotized by my bedazzled turban my fantasy freaks. Here in the lounge we dedicated, often celebrated, and usually acquitted (we have a great legal team) Razzballin’ scribes gather every opening day to bicker and banter, indulge and imbibe and moan and marvel at our fantasy teams and Grey’s magnificent ‘stache. On this last lazy Sunday (before things get serious) we find Sky in a dark corner slowing rocking back and forth muttering his mantra of “Tulo, Tanaka, Trumbo” over and over. Bellying up to the bar is podcasting paladin Nick Capozzi, clad only in his Expos throwback demanding another Labatts, showing off pics of his rolling Razzball ride and asking no one in particular, “Get your 32in32in32 tickets yet, eh?” Dropping quarters in the jukebox we find Jay Wrong demonstrating his “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” interpretative dance – “Will you love me forever?”  *bottle smashes above head* Stumbling out of the ladies room is the one and only Tehol Beddict casually zipping up his skinny jeans and introducing his new lady friend, “Guys, I’d like to introduce you to my cousin. Ain’t she pretty?” And here at the pool table is your humble-but-nonetheless handsome Guru putting the finishing touches on my 27 rosters. *closes eye, takes aim, sinks eight ball off two rails, drops shot glass into pint, downs boilermaker, lights cigar, sets turban on fireWith the drinks starting to flow let’s run though the jams and crams at each position for Week 1 of the 2014 fantasy baseball season. We’re not talking Miggy, Trout or Goldy here, we’re looking at players owned in less than 50% of most leagues that could help grab you an early lead on your way to fantasy glory. Good luck this season, it’s time to jam it or cram it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What does Beastie Boys and Peter Cetera have in common?! This post…

Back in the day

There was this post around the way

It pointed to SP sleepers as good late round plays

You asked, “Are they worth an add?” I said, “You May”

THEY’LL MAKE YOUR PANTS TIGHT AND THAT’S OKAY

If you clicked on the link in the first…stanza?… I listed a slew of pitchers as sleepers by their pitch repertoires. Some interesting sleepers starting with the fastball was Burch Smith, Erasmo Ramirez and Hector Santiago.  That post and my prior post on pitch repertoires took into account mainly pitches’ Swinging Strike% and GB/FB ratios. There are many others I’d point out on that list – Devastating Danny Salazar as my favorite, but I’ll attend to ESPN’s % ownership in conjunction with this ‘Stuff’ for waiver wire options. Here are guys with < 10% ownership that make my pants tight:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Pitcher Profiles are almost back baby!  Oh man, I haven’t been this excited for pitchers to return ever since all the crap I got for saying Ryan Dempster was a sleeper last year.  Of course, no one remembers Matt Harvey was my #1 sleeper (audio proof!), and then Grey even forgets which old bad pitcher I lumped in my sleepers saying it was Josh Beckett!  Ugh.  Being such a bully around the office.  Punk me for the rest of those picks!  Yikes.

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Confession time! I’m looking at Craigslist’s Missed Connections for a five feet, three inch starting pitcher that I saw last year on TV. I see someone on Missed Connections looking for a man that they ran into who was wearing a striped shirt and a wool hat. Hey, that’s no fair, you have to find Waldo on your own. I don’t see the guy I’m looking for on Missed Connections, so I’m going to fill out my own ad, “Seeking SLM (Sexy Little Man). When I first saw you throwing 100 MPH, I was smitten like a kitten that grabs onto the side of a building on one of those posters that reads, Hang In There. There’s no emoji to express the joy you gave me that day. If you’re interested — no strings attached! — please be available to draft around 220 overall in standard mixed league drafts.” There, now I just have to wait to see if Yordano Ventura is available in my next draft after being officially named to the Royals starting rotation. Since some of youse, have a problem searching the site for what I’ve said about him in the past, allow me to copy and paste me, “Check out these K-rates from Ventura in the minor leagues: 9.91, 9.39, 11.55, 11.55 and 9.47. That’s every year’s K-rate where he had more than 50 IP pitched. Those are eye popping like John Lithgow in The Twilight Zone Movie. I want to sit by a campfire with those K-rates and let them search for firewood on my lap. His walk rates weren’t egregious either. Not elite, not bad. On average around a 3.50. A 9+ K/9 and a 3.50 BB/9 works. He reminds me of Pedro Martinez, which is a huge compliment. Yordano weighs about a buck-forty and he can hit 100 MPH on the speed gun. His stuff is elite. He could be a lights out closer or starter. For now, the Royals think he’ll work as a starter and so far he hasn’t disproved them.” And that’s me quoting me! Ventura is worth owning in every league. Yes, even that one. Anyway, here’s what else I’ve seen in Spring Training for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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Little known facts about Sky. Not only does he do some Deep League thinking, he plays in a keeper league. A deep keeper league, if you will. And for those new to the Razzball world, he also writes on the Fantasy Football side. But if you’re new to the site, everything is news to you. In fact, I think I could lie my arse off. Maybe we should play one lie, two truths as a way to get to know each other? But then again, why would we want to do that? Let’s just stay friends…well maybe distant friends…better yet, let’s not be friends. I’ll go with casual internet acquaintances. I have problems with commitment…but of course when it comes to keepers, my Sterling Archer-like mommy issues go out the window and I fall head over heels for guys that I want to hold and snuggle tight to my bosom. Wanna know another truth? I drafted Matt Harvey in my keeper league last year in the 8th round and was downright ecstatic. Then he pitched like he did and I was straight up twitterpated over the man. But then September hit, his arm basically fell off, and my heart felt like it had been ripped through my backside via roto-rooter. All this to say, I’m not keeping him and chances are many players in keeper leagues will do the same as me and throw him back into the draft day pool. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be mine again. Oh yes, he will be mine again. So here’s why I’m targeting Harvey the wonder pitcher in keeper leagues for 2014 Fantasy Baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Two weeks ago we looked at the speedsters from 2013 and there were more than a few names on the list that were available on the waiver wire at some point. For deeper leagues and daily fantasy players that need to maximize each and every matchup, even the smallest advantages can mean the difference between a win and a loss. That’s why we focused a lot on matchups this past year, and we’ll do it again in 2014. Even the best base stealers get caught once in a while, so it’s good to know as much as we can about who might be doing the catching before deploying our fantasy lineups. There’s a lot that goes into a stolen base, of course, and the battery of pitcher and catcher is a large piece of the puzzle. Pitchers who are good at holding baserunners can be avoided while pitchers who have a tendency to cough up a lot of steals can be exploited. Here’s how some starters fared in 2013 and over the last three years against the stolen base.

Please, blog, may I have some more?